Awesome Video: Octopus Hatching, Chromatphores on Alert

Screenshot from the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center video. Click to see the video.

YOU CAN FIND NUMEROUS VIDEOS OF OCTOPUSES HATCHING ON YOUTUBE (always fun to watch).  Here’s a short one from the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center that shows something I’ve never noticed.

Immediately after shooting into life, the little guy – a Caribbean reef octopus – turns dark brown as it swims rapidly away. 

In a followup comment, the aquarium staff notes that “Our team believes that there are two possible reasons for the immediate color change. Either the stress of the hatch caused the chromatophores to fire off immediately or the octopus’s natural instinct is to blend and hide from possible predators.”

In followup questions, visitors asked whether the mother died (a common aftermath for octopuses and its typical lifespan.

For comparison purposes, an adult Caribbean reef octopus (not from the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center).

“The lifespan for this species (Octopus briareus) is about 1-1.5 years. Lifespans for octopuses in general depend on the species. (The Giant Pacific Octopus is known to live between 3 and 5 years.) She’s still alive and has actually been eating fairly consistently. She has been a very good momma octo and is still tending to the remaining eggs, however you are correct. Once she enters senescence, it is part of her life cycle to protect the eggs until she does pass.”

Asked whether the new members of Octo World will be released into the ocean, the aquarium adds that “Because these were born into human care, we will work with other The Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited organizations to find permanent homes for them. That way even more people can be inspired by these amazing animals.”

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